Would you believe it? I worked today! And what I saw at the MSG Training Center should give Ranger fans a little hope.
1. I’d be stunned if Fedor Tyutin didn’t play tomorrow. The 23-year-old defenseman skated in a regular jersey today and was alongside Dan Girardi.
“We’ll see tomorrow morning,” coach Tom Renney said. “He’s likely going to be ready. We’ll make a decision on him in the morning but he looks good to go.”
As I wrote in Tuesday’s paper, Tyutin thought he was ready to go already but understood the coaching staff’s caution. “I probably could’ve gone a week ago but I probably wouldn’t have helped the team,” he said.
And here’s Tyutin on returning in the most important game of the season: “I feel confident in my teammates. I’m sure they’ll help me out and I’ll just try to do my best.”
As an observer, Tyutin seemed to have no fear or hesitation about tomorrow.
2. Marcel Hossa looked like part of the team. Brendan Shanahan missed practice today to rest, and it was Hossa Ã¢â‚¬â€ who also donned a regular jersey Ã¢â‚¬â€ skating in place of Shanahan alongside Martin Straka and Sean Avery.
Renney said Hossa won’t play tomorrow and that’s he’s unlikely to play on Saturday. (“We always knew he was about a week behind Toots,” Renney said.) So I asked Renney if he saw any realistic way that Hossa could play in the next two games.
“I don’t know if he’s a weekend guy or not,” Renney said. “But I think we’ll see him ready for the playoffs.”
Hossa was still on the ice when I left the rink before working on his conditioning. Renney said one of the big things for Hossa will be getting used to playing with equipment strapped to his knee.
3. It’s worth noting: Petr Prucha was back on the fourth line. Now, does that mean he’s in the lineup tomorrow for sure? Not definitely. But Prucha, who was a healthy scratch yesterday vs. the Islanders, skated alongside Blair Betts and Ryan Hollweg today. Colton Orr was actually in a tandem with the displaced Jason Strudwick at times, so you’d imagine both are out against Montreal and Tyutin and Prucha are in. Of course, that can always change before 7 p.m. tomorrow.
I asked Renney if he felt the team missed Prucha last night.
“I don’t think so. The lines were designed the way they were for a reason,” Renney said. “That was to make sure we were in a sound position, primarily without the puck, and I think we were OK there. You can always look back and second guess and wonder if. I’m not going there. We did what we did and that’s that. We’re going to come back against Montreal, get better we hope and get it done.”
4. Lundqvist and the ice girls. No, I don’t know what they are called, but the tightly-outfitted ice girls who take the ice at the Coliseum during timeouts unsettled Henrik Lundqvist Ã¢â‚¬â€ and not because of their attire. As you probably know, the Ranger goalie likes to stay in the crease during breaks and keeps his room a bit of a mess. So when the girls who are assigned to take the ice with shovels and brooms and sweep the crease came toward Lundqvist, he told them to go away.
I asked Lundqvist about it after today’s practice. He said the linesman backed him during the first timeout, but that the ref told him he had to move when the second timeout came about. Lundqvist was surprised.
“For 65 games,” he said, “I didn’t move. But suddenly I guess they changed the rule.”
In truth, the mild-manned Lundqvist didn’t seem too upset about it, but he was definitely a little confused. He said he’d never been told to move before, not even during games at the Coliseum.
OK, that should be all. Let me know if you have any questions in addition to whether or not I stand around all day twiddling my thumbs.